Townhouses in middle-ring Melbourne drawing young crowd

A selection of Melbourne suburbs within just 11-20 kilometres of the city are proving immensely popular, with first-home buyers generating strong demand for townhouses and units in particular.

Pascoe Vale and Coburg stations on a Melbourne Metro train line map.
Pascoe Vale is among the suburbs in middle-Melbourne that are attracting young buyers and families to relatively affordable suburban townhouses. (Image source:

Across Australia's second largest city there are a number of areas that still offer first-home buyers a crack at affording a property within a reasonable distance from the CBD.

These Melbourne suburbs, between 11 to 20 kilometres from the CBD, are the quiet crowd pleasers drawing major interest from millennials.

Laverton is one prime example.

Local agent Vikram Pal of Ace Real Estate has a handful of listings in the area with an asking price of $630,000 to $660,000, 

A three-bedroom, two-bathroom and two-space car park townhouse is a good example of the kinds of properties first-home owners are after, he said.

“There’s a lot of good townhouses here that are close to the train station,” he said.

“Laverton is a very old area, which means that while new properties are hard to find, there’s a number of bigger homes on large plots of land.”

Mr Pal said townhouses in the suburb were particularly popular with first-home buyers as they offered more space than a typical apartment or unit yet were affordable.

“It’s mostly younger buyers who are interested in these types of properties, while older buyers prefer to avoid double story homes,” he said.

Over the past ten years working as an agent in the area, he said about 60 per cent of the townhouses he had sold went to younger buyers.

The townhouse sales are majority first-home buyers and the younger demographic.

- Victor Hsu, Agent and Auctioneer, Barry Plant Real Estate

More than 40 per cent of the population of the suburb that is home to the RAAF Williams Laverton air base is comprised of people aged 20-39.

“Really, it’s a good area for first-home buyers and investors as it’s close to the city,” he said.

“On the other side of the city a townhouse is a $1 million at least.

“In Laverton, older properties are increasingly being sold to investors or developers too.”

About 17km northwest in a pocket just over 11 kilometres from the city is Braybrook.

A small west of Footscray, with a population of around 10,000, Braybrook is another popular suburb for millennial buyers making their first move into the property market.

Local agent and auctioneer Victor Hsu of Barry Plant Real Estate is confident the suburb will have a bright future.

“It’s definitely up-and-coming - Braybrook is going to change a lot in the future as a lot of developments are happening there.”

Price drops open doors

Unlike Laverton, which has enjoyed steady price rises over the past year, Braybrook houses have become much more affordable.

The median price has fallen sharply from a January peak of $870,000 to August’s $757,000. Units in the area have fared much better, rising from $480,000 at the start of 2018 to $600,000 today, with prices levelling out in recent months but not declining.

Mr Hsu cited a three-bedroom, one-bathroom, one-car space townhouse as an example, with it seeing a lot of interest since hitting the market for $590,000 to $630,000.

So sure of the suburb’s future, Mr Hsu has also bought in the area.

“I’ve actually bought a place myself and I plan to build two townhouses on it,” he said.

Mr Hsu, who has sold properties in the area since 2018, said the majority of townhouses in the area are sold to first-home buyers aged 25 to 35.

“While there’s a lot of older homes in the area, they tend to be snapped up by investors.

“The townhouse sales are majority first-home buyers and the younger demographic,” he said.

Mr Hsu said the suburb was also popular among families with high school-age children, as Braybrook College was among the top 50 public schools in Victoria.

“It’s a suburb to keep an eye on in the next five years,” he said.

Looking north

Just 9 kilometres north of the Melbourne is Pascoe Vale, a suburb slightly larger and primarily composed of professional couples with children.

A three-bedroom townhouse with one bathroom and one car space is listed for sale with a price guide of between $620,000 to $680,000.

A local agent representing the property said this townhouse among several others they had sold had seen an influx of first-home buyers.

“For entry level three-bedroom properties, first-home buyers would be most dominant,” they said.

The agent said unlike other areas, Pascoe Vale had maintained strong prices over the past five years that they had sold properties in the area.

“The prices have maintained around the $500,000 to $600,000 mark the whole time I’ve worked in the area,” they said.

“Pascoe Vale is probably at that point where it’s in a well-established area that’s not too expensive.

“In nearby Coburg and further in, similar properties sell for over $800,000.

“Most people are happy with the value in Pascoe Vale compared to Glenroy or Hadfield slightly north, which aren’t regarded as fondly,” they said.

The agent said one thing they saw consistently among townhouse owners in the area was buyer satisfaction.

“Most of the people we see in townhouses are only making the move to get something a bit bigger if they sell.

“They’ll generally be buying a home in the area or slightly further in as they now have a kid or want a little more room,” they said.

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